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Laboratories and Centers

Research Labs

Title Description
Advanced Materials and Technologies Laboratory

PI: Ranga Pitchumani

Advanced Propulsion and Power Laboratory

PI: Wing Ng

Advanced Structures and Optimization (ASTRO) Laboratory

PI: Pinar Acar

Advanced Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory

PI: Mehdi Ahmadian

Applied Autonomy and Mechatronics Research Lab

PI: Alfred J. Wicks

Assistive Robotics Laboratory

PI: Alan Asbeck

Autonomous Systems and Intelligent Machines Laboratory

PI: Azim Eskandarian


PI: Dylan Losey

Computational and Experimental Laboratory for Heterostructures and Interfaces in Nanomaterials

PI: Celine Hin

Design, Research & Education of Additive Manufacturing Systems (DREAMS) Laboratory

PI: Chris Williams

Dynamic and Architected Robot and structurE lab (DARE lab)

PI: Suyi Li

Extreme Environments and Materials Lab

PI: Brian Lattimer

Field and Space Experimental Robotics (FASER) Laboratory

PI: Erik Komendera

Future Materials Laboratory

PI: Reza Mirzaeifar

GrapheneX and Thermal Engineering Lab

PI: Roop Mahajan

High Performance Computational Fluid-Thermal Science and Engineering Lab

PI: Danesh Tafti

Hybrid Dynamic Systems and Robot Locomotion Lab

PI: Kaveh Akbari Hamed

Laboratory of Biological and Bio-Inspired Materials

PI: Ling Li

Laboratory of Transport Phenomena for Advanced Technologies

PI: Rui Qiao

Manufacturing and Tribology Laboratory

PI: Bart Raeymaekers

Mechanics of Living Materials Lab

PI: Sohan Kale

Micro/NanoScale Biotic/Abiotic Systems Engineering Laboratory

PI: Bahareh Behkam

Multiphase Flow and Thermal-hydraulics Lab

PI: Yang Liu

Multiphysics Intelligent and Dynamical Systems (MInDS) Laboratory

PI: Shima Shahab

Nature-Inspired Fluids and Interfaces Lab

PI: Jonathan Boreyko

Ng Lab

PI: Wing Ng

Palmore Research Group

PI: John Palmore, Jr.

Paul Research Group

PI: Mark Paul

Railway Technologies Laboratory

PI: Medhi Ahmadian

Robotics and Mechatronics Lab

PI: Pinhas Ben-Tzvi

Soft Materials and Structures Lab

PI: Michael Bartlett

Spinnaret-based Tunable Engineering Paramenters (STEP) Lab

PI: Amrinder Nain

Terramechanics, Multibody, and Vehicle Systems Laboratory

PI: Corina Sandu

Terrestrial Robotics Engineering and Controls (TREC) Lab

PI: Alexander Leonessa

Unmanned Systems Lab

PI: Kevin Kochersberger

Vehicle Terrain Performance Laboratory

PI: John Ferris

Vibrations and Acoustics Laboratory

PI: Chris Fuller

Vibrations and Robotics (VibRo) Lab

PI: Oumar Barry

Teaching Labs

While research labs often have many objective, the sole objective of teaching labs is education. These labs are connected to courses and reinforce classroom studies with hands-on learning.

This course utilizes a new space created in Randolph Hall. Outfitted with a number of stations for measuring flow, friction, and other variables.

Basics of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. Fluid and thermal properties of materials. Ideal gas equation of state. First law of thermodynamics in closed systems. Transient heat transfer. First law of thermodynamics in open systems. Fluid mechanics balances, open systems. Emphasis on applications in all topic areas. Pre: (ESM 2104 or PHYS 2306), (MATH 2114 or MATH 2114H). Co: MATH 2214. (2H,2C) 

See the course catalog for details.

Randolph Hall Fluid Mechanics Lab

This lab utilizes new space in Randolph Hall, offering 15 lab stations that support up to 6 lab experiments throughout the semester.  Students will have required pre-lab activities to complete prior to the experimental lab activity.  A series of re-configurable hardware platforms from Quanser will enable students to apply their knowledge of feedback controls from the classroom to some common practical electromechanical systems.  Each of the controls lab experiments will be based around the TI MSP432P401R LaunchPad MicroController.


Fundamentals of feedback control theory, time-domain and frequency-domain analysis, automatic control system design synthesis to meet performance and stability requirements, numerical simulation and discrete real-time implementation on microcontrollers. Pre: 2004, (MATH 2114 or MATH 2114H or MATH 2405H), (MATH 2214 or MATH 2214H or MATH 2406H), (MATH 2204 or MATH 2204H or MATH 2406H), ESM 2304, ESM 2104. (3H,3L,4C)

See the course catalog for details.

Randolph Hall Control Systems Lab

Mechanical Design prepares students for design against mechanical failure theories; static, fracture, buckling and fatigue design and apply the developed failure theories to mechanical components, bolted and welded joints and springs.  Finite element analysis is introduced in the course.  The lab provides hands-on experience supporting the principle topics in the course; (1) acquiring material response on test specimens for use in the failure theories, (2) exploration of concepts and failure theories on lab-scale components.  Lab is outfittied with seven Instron table-top load frames and five Digital Image Correlation instruments.  Five lab projects allow hands-on experience with load frames, strain gages and DIC instruments to acquire data on material specimens and mechanical components being studied in class.  


Comprehensive first course in mechanical design. Stress and Strain. Fundamentals of designing mechanical components subjected to static and cyclical loads. Design elements for screws, fasteners, springs, and welds. Hands-on laboratory learning of concepts discussed in class. Course credit will not be awarded for both ME 3614 and ME 3624. Pre: 2004, ESM 2204, (MATH 2214 or MATH 2214H or MATH 2406H). (3H,3L,4C)

See the course catalog for details.

Randolph Hall Mechanical Design Lab

The mechatronics lab is equipped with computer stations, measurement devices and state-of-the-art experimental setups to support the undergraduate and graduate courses in robotics and automation. This accommodates a hands-on teaching method, which incorporates lectures and labs concurrently. 

Undergraduate courses using this lab:

Automation, robot technology, kinematics, dynamics, trajectory planning, and control of two-dimensional and spatial robots; robot programming; design and simulation of robotic devices. Pre: (ECE 2574, STAT 4714) or (ME 3514, STAT 3704). Co: 4584. (3H,3C)

Develop, compile, and test algorithms for serial and mobile robots. Robot forward and inverse kinematics, task planning, velocity kinematics, force rendering, control, haptics, mapping and localization, computer vision and path planning. Co: ME 4524 or ECE 4704 (3L,1C)

Electromechanical system modeling, control and applications. Design and building of electronic interfaces and controllers for mechanical devices, sensors, signal acquisition, filtering, and conditioning. Microcontroller-based closed-loop control and device communications. Sensor and actuator selection, installation, and application strategies are studied. A term design project is a key component to this course (for 4736). Pre: (ECE 3254, ME 3514) or (ECE 2004, ECE 2704) for 4735; 4735 for 4736. (3H,3C)

See the undergraduate course catalog for details.

Graduate courses using this lab:

ME 5704G - Robotics and Automation
Automation, mechatronics, robot technology, kinematics, dynamics, trajectory planning, and control of two-dimensional and spatial robots; robot programming; design and simulation of robotic devices. Laboratories associated with robot forward/inverse kinematics, task planning, velocity kinematics, force rendering, control, haptics, mobile robotics, mapping/localization, computer vision and path planning.

ME 5735G - Advanced Mechatronics
Electromechanical design and control applications. Design and building of electronic interfaces and controllers for mechanical devices, sensors, signal acquisition, filtering, and conditioning. Microcontroller-based closed-loop control and device communications. Sensor and actuator selection, installation, and application strategies.

See the graduate course catalog for details.

Mechatronics Lab
Mechatronics Lab

The Audio Engineering Technology lab is located in Randolph 9B.  Students have access to state-of-the-art audio hardware and software and complete projects including microphone construction and analysis, studio hardware analysis, network audio, and surround sound systems.  Not to be confused with “Audio Engineering” chasses where students learn to record, mix, and master, this class teaches students the theory behind the construction of audio hardware, the design and signal processing involved in studio/audio software plugins, and the theory and operation/deployment of networked audio systems based on Dante and AVB protocols.


Principles and design in the field of audio engineering. Loudspeaker design and construction, microphone technology, digital audio acquisition, signal processing in audio engineering, human perception, technical acoustics, binuaral hearing, surround sound processing and production, theory, measurement, and reproduction of 3D surround sound, virtual instrument theory and practice, room acoustics and simulation, principles of audio effects (e.g., compression, reverberation, equalization), and acoustic materials engineering. Pre: 3504 or 4504. (3H,3C)

See the course catalog for details.

This take-home lab encompasses a series of 14 hands-on workshops for students to use as part of a heat transfer course, bringing classroom learning into pratical application. Students use a kit that includes heat flux and temperature sensors run by any laptop computer makes this a true mobile lab for students. Real-time plots of heat flux enhance students’ interest as they measure and interpret real-world thermal events. Data is saved for analysis of basic course concepts. The kit provides an inexpensive laboratory experience without the costs and logistics of dedicated laboratories. 

Comprehensive basic course in heat and mass transfer for mechanical engineering students. Principles of conduction, convection, and radiation with applications to heat exchangers and other engineering systems. Pre: (2124 or 2134), (MATH 2214 or MATH 2214H or MATH 2306H), (MATH 2204 or MATH 2204 H or MATH 2406H). (3H,3C)

Heat Transfer Mobile Lab

Capstone Realization of Engineering and Technology (CREATE) is an option to the required senior capstone design course that allows significant participation by industry, and as such, adds a professional element into the course offering. Students have many options for their senior design project, including industry-provided projects, undergraduate competition teams and faculty-defined projects. Multiple campus spaces and labs are utilized, depending on the objectives and components of the project.

CREATE provides funding for project materials, student travel to client site, overhead for the student machine shop and graduate teaching assistants who work with faculty to guide the students through the design process. An engineering liaison from the client company will interact directly with the students in design meetings to provide the industry perspective. Companies gain insight into potential future employees by working with the students over a 30-week period.

Other labs for students 

The Ware Lab is one of the first spaces on Virginia Tech’s campus dedicated to the development of an undergraduate engineering build space. Prior to the founding of the Ware Lab, the university’s design teams meet in multiple spaces spread across campus in various academic buildings. Thanks to the generosity and vision of Ware, multidisciplinary teams can interact in a common space.

The lab removes boundaries that often separate engineering professions. In real-world practice, engineers from different disciplines will work together. Students who work in the lab are highly recruited by to top tier companies who frequent the lab looking for the well-rounded, globally minded engineers who have had hands on experiences.

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Advance Product Prototyping Laboratory in Engineering Design (APPLIED) is located in room 16 of the Military Building located at 320 Stanger Street. The space includes 3,100 sq ft of machine shop and maker space dedicated to seniors in the Mechanical Engineering Department’s required, two-semester, capstone senior design course. 15 work benches accommodate industry-sponsored teams and other hands-on learning opportunities.

Machines include:

  • Conversational CNC 3 axis mill
  • Manual 3 axis mill
  • Manual 2 axis lathe
  • Drill presses
  • CNC 3D router
  • CDC laser cutter/engraver (18 x 24”)
  • Wood band saw
  • Metal band saw
  • Horizontal band saw
  • 3 in 1 sheet metal machine


  • Arbor press
  •  Scroll saw
  • Miter saw
  • Mig welder
  • Tig/stick welder
  • Soldering stations
  • Hand drills
  • Skill saws
  •  Jig saws
  • Dremels
  • Reciprocating saws
  • Heat guns
  • Sanders
  • Grinders
  • Data acquisition equipment
  • Oscilloscopes
  • Function generators
  • Multimeters
  • Stationary belt & disc sanders/grinders

All students are required to take and pass the following VT Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) online courses before getting access to the lab:

  • Electrical awareness
  • Hand and Power Tool Safety
  • Lockout-Tagout Awareness
  • Machine Shop Safety
  • PPE Awareness
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers